a lawyer defending a client in a battery case

The Key Differences Between Assault and Battery In North Carolina

Assault and battery are frequently linked, but they are distinct offenses with key differences. If you or a loved one is facing either charge, consulting a Criminal Defense Attorney is crucial for understanding and addressing the situation. We can assist in defending against assault or battery accusations in the Charlotte area.

North Carolina Assault and Battery Laws

In North Carolina, assault occurs when you attempt or threaten to unlawfully touch someone. Battery involves intentionally touching someone without their permission or consent. The key difference is that assault involves the threat of contact, whereas battery involves actual physical contact.

Understanding Assault in North Carolina

Assault involves threatening unwanted or illegal touching or instilling fear that harm will occur. You may face simple assault charges if you threaten someone or touch them in an unwanted or threatening manner.

What is Aggravated Assault?

In North Carolina, aggravated assault is the higher classification for assault charges and is considered a felony. This involves a physical attack causing severe bodily injury to the victim. If a gun or knife is used to threaten or harm someone, the charge may include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

What Constitutes Battery in North Carolina?

Battery involves the act of harming or making unwanted physical contact with a victim. This contact doesn't have to be direct; it can include touching an extension of the victim, like an item they are holding. Examples of battery include punching, shoving, or throwing an object at someone.

The Key Differences Between Assault and Battery

The primary difference between assault and battery is that assault involves the threat of imminent harm without physical contact, whereas battery requires physical contact and is the act of causing harm.

Although this outlines the technical distinction between assault and battery, North Carolina law refers to all such cases as "assault."

Are Penalties for Assault and Battery Different in NC?

Assault and battery charges can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, with penalties varying based on the case specifics. If convicted of a misdemeanor assault, you might face:

  • 30 days of imprisonment or probation for first-time offenders
  • Up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 for repeat offenses
  • Up to 150 days for aggravated assaults involving injuries

For felony convictions, the penalties are more severe, potentially leading to significantly longer prison sentences.

The penalties for assault in North Carolina can vary depending on the specifics of the case, and the presence of aggravating factors can result in more severe consequences for both assault and battery charges. These aggravating factors include if the victim was a female, less than 12 years old, an emergency or medical worker, a government employee or official, a campus employee or official, if a minor was present, if a deadly weapon was used, or if a gun was pointed at the victim.

What to Do if You’re Charged with Assault

Facing an assault charge is serious, and your response can significantly impact the outcome. Here are some steps to consider:

Exercise your right to remain silent

Avoid discussing the incident with the police without your lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you, even if you’re innocent.

Contact an experienced defense attorney

Find a lawyer well-versed in North Carolina assault laws with experience in similar cases. Your attorney will guide you on your rights, legal options, and the best course of action. They can also gather evidence to support your case, such as witness statements, video footage, or medical records.

Related Services


Alcohol and Drug Crimes

Financial Crimes

Table of Contents